FRANCESCO BASSANO (BASSANO DEL GRAPPA 1549-1592 VENICE)
FRANCESCO BASSANO (BASSANO DEL GRAPPA 1549-1592 VENICE)
FRANCESCO BASSANO (BASSANO DEL GRAPPA 1549-1592 VENICE)
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FRANCESCO BASSANO (BASSANO DEL GRAPPA 1549-1592 VENICE)

Portrait of a bearded gentleman, half-length, in a black doublet with a white collar

Details
FRANCESCO BASSANO (BASSANO DEL GRAPPA 1549-1592 VENICE)
Portrait of a bearded gentleman, half-length, in a black doublet with a white collar
oil on canvas

20 3⁄4 x 18 1⁄2 in. (52.8 x 47 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 10 July 2015, lot 157, where acquired by the present owner.
Sale room notice
Please note the additional literature for this lot:

S. Pepper, 'Annibale Carracci's Venetian Portraits', Arte Documento, XIII, 1999, pp. 200-203, fig. 7, as 'Annibale Carracci'.

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Francois de Poortere
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Lot Essay

The eldest son of Jacopo Bassano, proprietor of the busy workshop in the town from which his family took its name, Francesco Bassano trained with his father alongside his brothers before moving to Venice to oversee a branch of the family business. Although the Bassanos are generally best known for their religious scenes and landscapes, Jacopo’s biographer, Carlo Ridolfi, wrote that he was ‘valued for his portraits’, which were ‘naturalistically rendered’ owing to the artist’s abilities when working from life. Though relatively few portraits by the members of the Bassano family survive, works like this one attest both to Jacopo’s talent in the genre, and to how successfully he trained his sons.

Here, Francesco Bassano offers a bust-length portrait of a sitter whose identity is not known. A man in middle age, the florid flush of red across his nose, cheeks, and ears contrast with his brown beard and hair, which recedes in wisps across the creamy expanse of his forehead. His dark eyes meet the viewers’ with a sense of gravitas. A soft light diffuses gracefully to illuminate the sitter’s features and costume, a black coat enlivened only by the collar of his white shirt, set austerely against a minimalist grey background. The sitter’s intelligent and alert expression communicates a psychological intensity that evokes an empathetic response from the viewer. Combined with the informality of his pose and tilt of head, the sitter appears as alive to us today as he once did to the artist of his own time.

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